Creating Waves of Awareness
How To Make A Healthier Rice Discovered
This recipe trick hit a chord with me after reading the Biblical Sacrificial Laws given from God to Moses and his brother Aaron (the High Priest). The instructions provide a method of cooking the ingredients completely and the mixing of "fine flour" and "oil." In addition, there are specific spices. The fine odor may have permeated the Holy Temple, but the underlying meaning that this was a pleasing fragrance, since that anthropomorphizes God's attributes, means simply the laws were obeyed as prescribed.
There are many cultural recipes formulated over the centuries that combine foods, like beans and rice, or cooking fried rice, and rinsing the rice first before cooking, or even fermenting rice before making patties or flat breads that enhance their nutritional value and improve digestibility. How many of us love NEXT DAY left overs that are reheated and perhaps have added cooking fats? Is this common sense or a new discovery?
Rice, the lifeblood of so many nations' cuisines, is perhaps the most ubiquitous food in the world. In Asia, where an estimated 90% of all rice is consumed, the pillowy grains are part of almost every meal. In the Caribbean, where the starch is often mixed with beans, it's a staple too. Even here in the United States, where people eat a comparatively modest amount of rice, plenty is still consumed.
Rice is popular because it's malleable—it pairs well with a lot of different kinds of food—and it's relatively cheap. But like other starch-heavy foods, it has one central flaw: it isn't that good for you. White rice consumption, in particular, has been linked to a higher risk of diabetes. A cup of the cooked grain carries with it roughly 200 calories, most of which comes in the form of starch, which turns into sugar, and often thereafter body fat.
But what if there were a simple way to tweak rice ever so slightly to make it much healthier?
An undergraduate student at the College of Chemical Sciences in Sri Lanka and his mentor have been tinkering with a new way to cook rice that can reduce its calories by as much as 50 percent and even offer a few other added health benefits. The ingenious method, which at its core is just a simple manipulation of chemistry, involves only a couple easy steps in practice.
INSTRUCTIONS TO PREPARE THE RICE
"What we did is cook the rice as you normally do, but when the water is boiling, before adding the raw rice, we added coconut oil—about 3 percent of the weight of the rice you're going to cook," said Sudhair James, who presented his preliminary research at National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical Society (ACS) on Monday. "After it was ready, we let it cool in the refrigerator for about 12 hours. That's it."
To understand what's going on, you need to understand a bit of food chemistry.
Not all starches, as it happens, are created equal. Some, known as digestible starches, take only a little time to digest, are quickly turned into glucose, and then later glycogen. Excess glycogen ends up adding to the size of our guts if we don't expend enough energy to burn it off. Other starches, meanwhile, called resistant starches, take a long time for the body to process, aren't converted into glucose or glycogen because we lack the ability to digest them, and add up to fewer calories.
A growing body of research, however, has shown that it might be possible to change the types of starches found in foods by modifying how they are prepared. At the very least, we know that there are observable changes when certain foods are cooked different ways. . .